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Jeff Whitten: Howdy, you #!@ tailgaters
editor's notes

Random thoughts prompted by the world at large, because the world is increasingly at large. It’s also in your face or, as the hipsters say, all up in your grill.

But first, I’m glad I’m not named Chip. Or Chap. Or Gilligan. Those are not names for serious men. Might as well call me Skippy. Or Doodlebug.

I wouldn’t mind being named Rufus, however. That’s an underrated name, a name that will get results. “Lookout, here comes Rufus. Everybody shape up and fly right.”

Bartholomew is an interesting name, too. If I were a Bartholomew I wouldn’t let anybody call me Bart. I’d insist they say it all and sound it out. In my presence.

BAR-THOLL-OHH-MEW. I like that. It sounds like someone gearing up to sack a city or two. In a good way.

Still, the question remains. What do I want for Christmas? I want some peace and quiet, that’s what I want.

Instead, it seems the world these days is intent on camping out on my lawn, or riding so close to my bumper it’s a wonder it doesn’t just reach in and grab the steering wheel and move me on out of the way.

That’s what it is, in a nutshell. I feel as if I’m always in the way of something or somebody.

Maybe it’s because we live in an age where the whole universe is moving down here and setting up shop. Then, instead of staying put in whatever subdivision they wind up in, they’re getting out and about and doing things all over the place before I can get there. That means life is a lot more crowded than it used to be.

Second, as Americans we’re naturally No. 1 and everybody else is No. 2 and the first thing No. 2 should know is we’re No. 1 and they’re not, and if that doesn’t work, then the customer is always right and we’re all customers, so give me what I want now or I’m going to demand satisfaction and throw a millkshake at you for not getting my order right.

Not me, of course. Them. They’ll do it. The other people.

Meanwhile, those of us who didn’t get in on being told we’re the center of the universe as kids are now reaping the rewards of a generation or two behind us who apparently believe the world is made up of bunch of morons because, well, we’d have to be if we’re not them.

And while I’m on that subject, what kind of non-taxpaying, motorized, self-important getout- of-my-way degenerate thinks its cool to pass another vehicle on a residential street?

I’ve had this happen to me twice in the past week, on my own street. The other day I headed out on some fools errand (most of mine are anymore) and was about 20 seconds out of my driveway and barely 10 feet up the road when someone in a fancy SUV got right on my bumper.

I looked in my rearview window and I think the driver was a child. All I could see was two hands on the steering wheel (in the 10 and 2 position, maybe), the mask, the glasses and hair that looked like it belonged on top of a North Korean dictator. Maybe it was.

Then the SUV swerved around me and sped off, leaving me a distant second.

Note: On the subject of hair, I have hair but it’s much like my lawn in that it grows where it wants to (my ears, say) and doesn’t grow where it doesn’t want to (my head). That means my hair goes perfect with the rest of me. I’m a dilapidated 1960s era ranch house with sagging floors, some missing tiles, a leaky bottom and weird wallpaper that’s started molding in spots. But I digress.

After years of scientific research, I have concluded that people who tailgate are also more likely than anyone else to pull right out in front of you, even if no one is behind you for 11 miles.

Why, you ask, would they do that? Because they’re cretinous and mean and selfish, and because they were taught from the time they were old enough to use a spoon, fork and sippy cup that they’re exceptional. That means if they got Cs in school, it was obviously the fault of their teachers.

Extrapolate that to the road and if you’re in their way, it’s not their fault they’re behind, it’s your fault for being ahead, so the obvious answer for them is to get as close to your bumper as possible, then pass you on a residential street. Yep.

Many tailgaters probably have 10 or 11 dogs they don’t keep up with, leaving them free to bark all night and annoy people with jobs. They also probably drive Jeeps, or pickups the size of armored fighting vehicles.

And, they pick their noses. We know this because they drive on our bumper and the objects in the mirror are bigger than they appear. Signed, your pal, Rufus.

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